Two Bits: Survived Falling 600 Feet - Twice!

Two Bits became famous in history as a war hero on the home front in the US during WWII for not giving up his fun of chasing chipmunks despite his two falls over a cliff while doing so.

Two Bits inside the lookout building

During the winter of 1942-1943, Bill Ziegler with his dog Two Bits and another man worked for the Army Air Corps in the remote wilderness of Rogue River National Forest in Oregon. A 14 by 14 foot lookout facility sat on top of Whiskey Peak, 6,497 feet above ground, next to a near-vertical 600 foot drop to the valley below. The facility was a US Forest Service fire spotting point that the army took over during WWII as part of its Aircraft Warning Service. The two men were to observe the western skies for enemy aircraft until the new technology of radar could be installed in strategic places.

Whiskey Peak

Two Bits was a fox terrier who loved to chase the chipmunks that hung around begging for food. By February, the snow on the summit was abundant and ice had formed over the nearby cliff. One day Two Bits went running after the rodents with too much enthusiasm near the edge of the cliff. He skidded across the ice and fell over the ledge. Ziegler, who was a good distance away, saw his poor dog go over. The distraught man walked to the point where Two Bits fell, looked at the 600 foot drop and knew there was no way his beloved dog could have survived the plunge.

About a week later, Ziegler was on a nearby trail when he was amazed to see Two Bits climbing slowly up toward him with his head down and his tongue hanging out. The dog was tired but still managed to happily wag his tail. Apparently Two Bits had fallen into a deep snowdrift that cushioned his fall, was able to dig himself out and make the long trek back to his owner. After he got some food in his belly and much needed rest, the spunky dog went back to his normal routine.

You would think Two Bits learned his lesson, but a few weeks later he took the same plunge. Again, Zeigler assumed the worst, but to his amazement the determined dog made it back to the top of Whiskey Peak a few days later.

Once his duty was over, Zeigler and Two Bits returned to their Jacksonville home. The news of the dog surviving two falls over the cliff "without physical impairment or loss of morale" went national. The Medford Mail Tribune and even Life magazine hailed Two Bits as a war hero and canine symbol of Home Front "stolidity and determination."

Two Bits lived a good life and passed away a few years after the war ended.